LAMONI — The Ashford University men's soccer team kept its undefeated record alive with momentous 2-1 win Sunday afternoon over No. 17 Graceland University.

One day after upending Midwest Collegiate Conference foe Viterbo University in overtime, the Saints (9-0-1) hit the road at 8 a.m. Sunday for the 41⁄2 hour intrastate trek.

Ashford was undeterred by a Yellowjackets squad that hoisted the NAIA national championship trophy just three years ago and gritted out arguably the biggest win in program history.

“Graceland was everything we thought they were going to be,” Ashford coach Richard Markham said. “They are by far the best team on our schedule, and there's no doubt they will be in the top 25 at the end of the year. But I'm so proud of our team. This is the signature win that we were looking for to verify our record.”

Midfielders Geraldo Garza and Rafael Machado scored less than three minutes apart in the first half.

At the 18:58 mark in the first half, Garza drilled a shot with the outside part of his foot into the top-left corner of the net. Machado followed with what proved to be his second game-winner in as many days in the 21st minute.

“I thought when we scored those first two goals early on, it was going to be our day,” Markham said. “I don't think Graceland underestimated us, but they just didn't really know what to expect. I think they were kind of shocked at that point.”

While Ashford was outshot 25-11, the Saints made their shots count, recording seven shots on goal versus the Yellowjackets' six. Nick Roman recorded five saves for his eighth win of the year in net while fending off Graceland's 18 shots in a second-half flurry.

Graceland, ranked as high as No. 11 this year, suffered its third straight loss after facing a pair of top-20 opponents (Park University, Kansas Wesleyan University) last week.

Next up on the schedule for Ashford is a key matchup to open the month of October. The Saints (1-0-1 MCC) travel to Des Moines to face defending MCC champion Grand View University (5-4, 1-0 MCC).

“At the beginning of the year, we weren't looking for national attention, but now, people can start talking about Ashford,” Markham added. “(Sunday’s) win really put a stamp on what we've been trying to do here.”

Saints beat Viterbo in OT

CLINTON — Machado received a feed from Nick De Backer to boot the game-winning goal in overtime and complete the Ashford men’s soccer team’s rally over Viterbo University, 2-1, on Saturday.

Just over two minutes into the overtime session at the 92:10 mark, De Backer targeted Machado down the middle of the field to set him up for a clean shot.

“I got the ball and had a lot of space to run into and saw Rafa turning back a little bit,” De Backer said. “Then he went one-and-one with his defender and beat him. He told me before the overtime started ‘I’m going to assist you for the game-winner’, but I guess we just reversed roles.”

Earlier in the match, Machado slammed a shot off the post, and Garza trailed the play to knock in his fourth goal of the year for the equalizer in the 63rd minute.

Women’s win streak snapped

CLINTON — The Ashford women’s soccer team saw its eight-game win streak come to a halt Saturday, falling 2-1 in an MCC matchup against Viterbo University.

The Saints (8-2, 1-1 MCC) had their streak of six consecutive shutouts also come to an end.

“It was a tough, physical game and we knew that coming in,” Ashford coach Mick Regan said. “We missed a couple of opportunities, and we’ll be looking to get back on track for the Grand View game (Oct. 3).”

Saints freshman Chelsea Fisher scored her third goal of the season, assisted on a free kick by senior defender Samantha Green of Clinton.

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